If cattle and horses and lions had hands, or could paint with their hands and create works such as men can do, horses would draw the forms of the gods like horses, and cattle like cattle, and they would make their bodies such as they each had themselves.
Buddha had once said: “The things, Oh Sariputra, they do not exist as they seem to the ordinary unenlightened people, who are attached to them.” Sariputra said, “So how do things exist, my Master?” Buddha replied: “They exist only in such a way that they actually do not exist. As they do not exist, they should be called Avidyā, which means non-existent. It is them that the ordinary unenlightened people are attached to, who imagine that objects in fact exist, while none of them are existent.”
Then Buddha asked the Venerable Subhuti: “Do you think Subhuti that illusion is one thing and body another? Is illusion one thing and feeling another? Idea another? Shape another? Knowledge another?” Subhuti replied: “No, my Master.” Then Buddha said: “The nature of illusion makes things what they are. This is done in such a way, Oh Subhuti, as if a skillful wizzard or wizard’s apprentice pointed at crowds of people at the crossroads and, upon showing them, made them disappear again.”
Prajñāpāramitā (Perfect knowledge)
You must understand that point first: what is this world? You make 1. time, 2. space, 3. karma [cause and effect]. In three seconds, when you asked that question, you made this whole world. Physics used to teach that time and space, and cause and effect, are absolutes. But modern physics teaches that time, space, and cause and effect are subjective. So you make this whole world, and you make your time and space.
The Buddha taught this, and we can test it in our everyday life. “Everything is created by mind alone.”
First we need to understand who creates this world. Who? World means: 1. Time, space and 2. 3. karma [cause and effect]. These three things together make up the world. Where is the world? What is the world? Who creates time, space, cause and effect? Nobody understands, but we call it the world. Physicists say that the time, space, cause and effect are absolutes. Now they say they are subject; are your mind. If your idea of time and space is different, then the cause and effect of it will be different.
You have to understand the essence of Buddhism. Buddha said that all things are created by the mind alone. You create your time, your space, its cause and effect. If you do nothing, then there is no time, no space, no cause or effect. Your world is completely finished. My world is finite. But everyone does something, so there is a big mistake, and world peace is not possible.
So please everyone: for one day, do not do anything. Then one day there will be peace in the world. Excellent master said, a great way is not difficult, do not just divisions. Before each facing elections, so we have problems. Why choose?
Human beings do not matter, because no choice. If you make choices, you’re doing something. You create a reason, you create problems. Everyone does. He says things like: I like communism; I like capitalism; I like Buddhism; I like Catholicism, I like this and that. So everyone has a problem and is therefore struggle.
But you complicates your world. I complicates my world. Two, three, many worlds many complications. This world is very big, so it is all the more complicated. But if you see that your world is very simple, and I see that my world is very simple, the whole world is very simple. No problem.
Do you understand the world of the child? Five year old goes to the market and sees another child. First, they look at each other. They do not know each other’s names, or anything about myself do not know. But soon they go over to him and will talk. All children do that. But when they grow up will be: I am. Then you imitating me !, I do not love you. You’re not fine !, Why not? and will soon be fighting. That’s liking and disliking, which appears, it is like an atomic bomb. If everyone could do that to his inner “I like it” mind vanished, the external atomic bomb would not be dangerous. That’s liking-disliking mind is an internal atomic bomb, that it is the most dangerous. If the atomic bomb will dissolve if everyone finds his human nature, then world peace will not be a problem. Do you understand now?
For the generality of men God is the provider of immortality. Talking to a peasant one day, I proposed to him the hypothesis that there might indeed be a God who governs heaven and earth, a Consciousness of the Universe, but that for all that the soul of every man may not be immortal in the traditional and concrete sense. He replied:
Then wherefore God?
Miguel de Unamuno – The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and in Peoples
Once upon a time there was a child who was willful and did not do what his mother wanted. For this reason God was displeased with him and caused him to become ill, and no doctor could help him, and in a short time he lay on his deathbed. He was lowered into a grave and covered with earth, but his little arm suddenly came forth and reached up, and it didn’t help when they put it back in and put fresh earth over it, for the little arm always came out again. So the mother herself had to go to the grave and beat the little arm with a switch, and as soon as she had done that, it withdrew, and the child finally came to rest beneath the earth.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm – Household Tales
All things in nature have an end; the most beautiful and perfect are the most frail, over which lament philosophers and poets. Why the man was supposed to be different? But why it could not be different?
Feelings and thoughts not only differ from what we call dead matter, but they are diametrically opposite. Conclusions with regards to the spirit, based on an analogy with the matter, have very little or no value. All matter, detached from the experience of sentient beings, has merely hypothetical and non-substantial existence; it is only conjecture to explain our feelings. The spirit, from a philosophical stance, is the only reality that we can prove, and between it and other realities no analogy can be found.
John Stuart Mill – Essays on Religion
Our minds have been conditioned from childhood to think in a certain way; we are educated, brought up in a fixed pattern of thought. We are tradition-bound. We have special values, certain opinions, and unquestioned beliefs, and according to this pattern we live – or at least we try to live.
And I think there lies the calamity. Because, life is in constant movement, is it not? It is a living thing, with extraordinary changes; it is never the same. And our problems also are never the same, they are ever changing. But we approach life with a mind that is fixed, opinionated; we have definite ideas and predetermined evaluations. So, for most of us, life becomes a series of complex and apparently insoluble problems, and invariably we turn to someone else to guide us, to help us, to show us the right path.
Here, I think, it would be right for me to point out that I am not doing anything of that kind. What we are going to do, if you are willing, is to think out the problem together. After all, it is your life, and to understand it, surely, you must understand yourself. The understanding of yourself does not depend on the sanctions of another.
Talks by Krishnamurti – First Talk in Hamburg, 1956
What philosophers busily try to put in abstract and often abstruse terms, a mystic simply sees. From time to time, he describes his experience of accidentality of the things created, saying that the world is an illusion. So bluntly expressed, the thought is, of course, unacceptable to the Judaic, Christian or Islamic faiths, because each of them invariably proclaims the reality of all that God has called into existence (otherwise Jesus would only be a phantom), but is traditionally embedded in the Buddhist and Hindu heritage.
What is in the present, on closer examination shrinks to an elusive point, which by definition disappears as soon as we try to catch it. Thus, anything that is “in” time, never “is”; you can talk about it as something that was or will be, but these expressions are only meaningful when the perceiving subject is assumed. Things that do not have memory, owe their continuous identity only to our minds, but in themselves they hold no past and no future, so no identity whatsoever.
We bestow perseverance to the world of things that are subject to destruction, and thus keep it in existence; but in the very act of mental creation of the world, we become aware of the lack of our own identity, if it has to be something more than the content of individual memory. This in turn means that whatever is, is timeless. In this way, we go back to the great initiators of European metaphysics, Parmenides and Heraclitus, who, from two opposite sides, set in motion this dizzying carousel of concepts: what changes, is not; what is, is beyond time; if there is nothing out of time, nothing exist.
Leszek Kolakowski – If there is no God
The age of volatile belief is intimately linked with the impact of the technetronic revolution on existing ideologies and outlooks on life. What man thinks is closely related to what man experiences. The relationship between the two is not causal but interacting: experience affects thought, and thought conditions the interpretation of experience.
Today the dominant pattern seems increasingly to be that of highly individualistic, unstructured, changing perspectives. Institutionalized beliefs, the result of the merger of ideas and institutions, no longer appear to many as vital and relevant, while the skepticism that has contributed so heavily to the undermining of institutionalized beliefs now clashes with the new emphasis on passion and involvement. The result for many is an era of fads, of rapidly shifting beliefs, with emotions providing for some the unifying cement previously supplied by institutions and with the faded revolutionary slogans of the past providing the needed inspiration for facing an altogether different future.
Zbigniew Brzezinski – Between Two Ages. America’s Role in the Technetronic Era
According to ancient Chinese, Indo-Iranian and African beliefs, the house of creator gods, of the Supreme Mystery, was the sky, fathomed as a stone vault. Perhaps this belief goes back to those times, when a man took to decorating caves, to study their insides, when he crawled in the dark rock corridors searching for the mystery of being, an explanation for everything, when watching how a new life grew from the ground, he gave to the ground the lives of the dead – their bodies, when in his mind a vague idea of the afterlife was perceived, because was it possible for life to lead nowhere? To nowhere? – he could not understand that.
Instinct told him that the earth and life had some relationship. What kind of? The answers may be sought in the depths of the caves, the questions put to the heavens, which from time to time send down fire, rain, wind. Is heaven a great vault, similar to the vaults of caves? And if so, then heaven must contain great mysteries, like those that are hidden in the inaccessible interior of the earth.
He was close to finding the future house of gods, whom he must create, to give the foundation of knowledge about the world and about his genre. 35 000 years ago, a man did not know yet how his gods will look like.
Jerzy Cepik – How man made gods
He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.
Friedrich Nietzsche – Beyond Good and Evil
Some impose upon the world that they believe that which they do not; others, more in number, make themselves believe that they believe, not being able to penetrate into what it is to believe. The best of us is not so much afraid to outrage him as he is afraid to injure his neighbour, his kinsman, or his master. And yet we often renounce this out of mere contempt: for what lust tempts us to blaspheme, if not, perhaps, the very desire to offend?
The philosopher Antisthenes, as he was being initiated in the mysteries, the priest telling him, “That those who professed themselves of that religion were certain to receive perfect and eternal felicity after death”, answered he:
If thou believest that, why dost thou not die thyself?
Diogenes, more rudely, according to his manner, said to the priest that in like manner preached to him:
What! thou wouldest have me to believe that Agesilaus and Epaminondas, who were so great men, shall be miserable, and that thou, who art but a calf, and canst do nothing to purpose, shalt be happy, because thou art a priest?
We only receive our religion after our own fashion, by our own hands, and no otherwise than as other religions are received. Either we are happened in the country where it is in practice, or we reverence the antiquity of it, or the authority of the men who have maintained it, or fear the menaces it fulminates against misbelievers, or are allured by its promises. These considerations ought, ’tis true, to be applied to our belief but as subsidiaries only, for they are human obligations. Another religion, other witnesses, the like promises and threats, might, by the same way, imprint a quite contrary belief.
And what Plato says, “That there are few men so obstinate in their atheism whom a pressing danger will not reduce to an acknowledgment of the divine power,” does not concern a true Christian. What kind of faith can that be that cowardice and want of courage establish in us? A pleasant faith, that does not believe what it believes but for want of courage to disbelieve it!
Michel de Montaigne – Essays
What had availed the fact that I had at least tried to make my thought honest? Indeed, what did we mean by honesty of thought? Was not that, too, vainglory and pride and delusion? What man – or, indeed, what beast – cared about such a bloodless abstraction, when he was warm in his bed, well fed, with his well-beloved close to him, comforting him and transforming existence from its original emptiness to an eternal triumph of comradeship and love?
Why had we been created at all, if this agony of isolation could be our lot? How cheap seemed the agnosticism of youth, and yet how hopeless now to try to repudiate its skepticism. I could not say – I tried and tried again – “Our Father, who art in Heaven.” That was weakness and a desire to return to the warm protective womb.
I had tasted of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and now, when so passionately I wanted to sink back into a kind of animal faith, I could not. I could do nothing; thought availed not at all, except to sharpen and intensify the sense of impotence and helplessness and depersonalization. Things – even the rocks and the sea – and myself were in the same blind, sensless category of non-being, of eternal death – made all the more piercing to us by the transient illusion of existence.
Yet if existence is only an illusion, perhaps no reality is stronger than it seems to be; its validity lies in that seeming. For where else could it lie? In an external world, the very awareness of which is necessarily a part of our limitations? There was no clear answer. I was caught in the old solipsistic net. Nor could I extricate myself from it – that is, so long as the pain of knowing I was aware (or the burden of consciousness, if you wish) could not be assuaged.
Harold E. Stearns – The Street I Know: The Autobiography of the Last of the Bohemians
In the face of accident and death people recognize their cosmic helplessness. There is nothing new in this situation. It has an infantile prototype. For once before a person has been in such a state of helplessness: as a little child in one’s relationship to one’s parents. Infantile helplessness arouses the need for protection that the father supplies. The discovery of the adult that this helplessness will continue through the whole of one’s life makes it necessary to cling to the existence of a father—but this time a more powerful one, the father in heaven. It is a tremendous relief for the individual psyche if it is released from the conflicts of childhood arising out of the father complex. One fears the father, though at the same time one seeks his protection against dangers. We give god the characteristics of the father.
Sigmund Freud – Civilization and Its Discontents
In both East and West, we may trace a journey which has led humanity down the centuries to meet and engage truth more and more deeply. It is a journey which has unfolded—as it must—within the horizon of personal self-consciousness.
The more human beings know reality and the world, the more they know themselves in their uniqueness, with the question of the meaning of things and of their very existence becoming ever more pressing. This is why all that is the object of our knowledge becomes a part of our life.
The admonition “KNOW THYSELF” was carved on the temple portal at Delphi, as testimony to a basic truth to be adopted as a minimal norm by those who seek to set themselves apart from the rest of creation as “human beings”, that is as those who “know themselves”.
John Paul II – Fides et ratio
If man has ever emerged from the whole of nature (that belongs to his essence, is an act of becoming man) and made it his “subject”, he must somehow turn himself backwards with trembling and ask, “So where do I stand myself? What is my place then?” Indeed, he no longer can say: “I am a part of the world, I am surrounded by it”, because the active being of spirit and human person surpasses the forms of existence of this “world” in time and space.
So, in turning, he looks somehow into nothingness; in this view he discovers the possibility of “absolute nothingness” and that prompts him to question further: “Why is there any world at all? why and how do «I» exist?” Having discovered the randomness of the world, man could behave in two ways:
- He could become amazed at it and activate his cognizant spirit to capture the absolute, and become part of it – this is a beginning of every metaphysics; in history has not it appeared until very late and only among very few people.
- But he could also, caused by unsurmountable desire to save – not only his individual being, but above all, his entire group – based upon and with huge surplus of fantasy, which, unlike animals, exists in man from the very beginning, populate that sphere of existence with any characters, and through worship and ritual shelter himself under the cover of their power, to get from “behind” some little care and assistance; because in the basic act of alienation from nature and objectification of her – while developing his own being and self-awareness – he seemed to be sinking into pure nothingness. Overcoming of nihilism in the form of such rescue, such support, we call religion. In our philosophical reflections on the relationship of man to the highest principles we must reject all similar ideas.
For us, the basic relationship between man and the Ground of Being consists in the fact that in man – who as such, both as a spiritual and alive being, is only a partial center of the spirit and momentum of “what is real by itself” – I say: in man this Ground is directly comprehended and realized.
The old thought of Spinoza and Hegel and many others is: primary existence becomes self-aware in man himself in the same act in which man sees himself rooted in it. The place of this self-realization, we say: of this self-deification, which is sought by ‘being by himself’ and because of which becoming he accepted the world as “history” – is the man, the human self and the human heart. They are the only place of becoming God that is available to us.
You could tell me, and I was actually told, that man cannot stand unready, becoming God. My response to that is that metaphysics is not an insurance company for the weak people, requiring support. The absolute being does not exist to support man, to complement his ordinary weaknesses and needs.
Max Scheler – The Human Place in the Cosmos
To begin with, a nerve stimulus is transferred into an image: first metaphor. The image, in turn, is imitated in a sound: second metaphor. And each time there is a complete overleaping of one sphere, right into the middle of an entirely new and different one.
One can imagine a man who is totally deaf and has never had a sensation of sound and music. Perhaps such a person will gaze with astonishment at Chladni’s sound figures; perhaps he will discover their causes in the vibrations of the string and will now swear that he must know what men mean by “sound.”
It is this way with all of us concerning language; we believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things–metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities.
Friedrich Nietzsche – On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense
There is a thing inherent and natural, which existed before heaven and earth. Motionless and fathomless, It stands alone and never changes; It pervades everywhere and never becomes exhausted. It may be regarded as the Mother of the Universe. I do not know its name. If I am forced to give it a name, I call it the Way.
We know well enough how those who are of this mind behave. They believe they have made great efforts for their instruction, when they have spent a few hours in reading some book of Scripture, and have questioned some priest on the truths of the faith. After that, they boast of having made vain search in books and among men. But, verily, I will tell them what I have often said, that this negligence is insufferable. We are not here concerned with the trifling interests of some stranger, that we should treat it in this fashion; the matter concerns ourselves and our all.
Let them at least learn what is the religion they attack, before attacking it. If this religion boasted of having a clear view of God, and of possessing it open and unveiled, it would be attacking it to say that we see nothing in the world which shows it with this clearness. But since, on the contrary, it says that men are in darkness and estranged from God, that He has hidden Himself from their knowledge, that this is in fact the name which He gives Himself in the Scriptures, D e u s a b s c o n d i t u s [Isaiah 45:15, a God who hides Himself] – what advantage can they obtain, when, in the negligence with which they make profession of being in search of the truth, they cry out that nothing reveals it to them?
Blaise Pascal – Pensées
Solipsism, solegoism, monegoism or selfego – so is called the supreme wisdom of man, this is the ultimate yield of thinking and research that humanity, hungry for truth, received from rationalism and independent, modern philosophy, equipped and supported by so many achievements of science!
Those who know what mood prevails in the world of philosophers and scholars, and who know the conceit and pride of the guild, will easily guess that not all skeptics proclaim their bankruptcy to the world in such form and battue. After and most of all, they are academy members, university professors, magazine editors, authors of works and treaties. They beat around the bush, as they can, when it comes to the nothingness of their knowledge and powerlessness of reasoning, they pull the wool over our eyes with the stream of platitudes, hypotheses, metaphors and sophistry.
There is no lack, however, of those sincere, who show the wound in their mind, in full width, and by preaching the theory that the world is nothing more than just our imagination, admit to the ultimate philosophical misery, to an absolute illusionism, which is nothing but – solipsism.
Wladyslaw M. Debicki – Great intelectual bankruptcy
A strange mania governs the working class of all countries in which capitalist civilization rules, a mania that results in the individual and collective misery that prevails in modern society. This is the love of work, the furious mania for work, extending to the exhaustion of the individual and his descendants. The parsons, the political economists, and the moralists, instead of contending against this mental aberration, have canonized work. In capitalist society, work is the cause of mental deterioration and physical deformity. Contemplate the wild savage, before missionaries of commerce and the traveling salesman for articles of faith have yet corrupted him with Christianity, syphilis, and the dogma of work, and then compare our strained machine slaves with him.
If we wish to find a trace of the primitive beauty of man in our civilized Europe, it is necessary to go to the nations in which politico-economic prejudice has not yet eradicated the hatred of work. To the Spaniard, in whom the primitive animal has not yet been killed, work is the worst slavery. The Greeks also, during the period of their greatest bloom, had but disdain for work; the slave alone was permitted to labor, the free man knew but physical exercise and play of the intellect. Jehova, the Old Testament God of the Jews, sets his worshipers the most sublime example: after six days’ work, he rests for all eternity.
When the employees shall have thoroughly liberated themselves from the vice that governs them and degrades their nature, it is not to demand the famous Rights of Man which are but the rights of capitalist exploitation, not to proclaim the Right to Work which is only the right to misery, but to forge an iron law forbidding every one to work more than three hours a day. But how can a manly decision be expected from a proletariat corrupted by capitalist morals! Like Christ, the embodied suffering of the slavery of ancient times, our proletariat, men, women and children, for a century has climbed the rough Mount Calvary of suffering.
O, Laziness, have thou mercy upon this eternal misery! O, Laziness, mother of the arts and the noble virtues, be thou balsam for the pains of mankind!
Paul Lafargue – The Right To Be Lazy